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Douglas Kephart

For my two cents worth I would agree with the essence of what Rodger Moss is saying. Searchable text ought to be a requirement.

You need to be careful about taking a cheap pill on these types of projects, particularly if new to computers and software. There seem to be a million pitfalls for the novice. For example, I have a scanner and the software with it will do Object Character Recognition (commonly abbreviated OCR). But it will only do that at the time of the scan. So if I went and only just had the scans done to save time (money) then later I wanted to add searchable text via OCR I would be up the creek without a paddle. It looks like Adobe Acrobat 6.0 has a tool to look at previously scanned *.jpg files and does the OCR (then you can save result as the Adobe Acrobat Reader file, the now universal *.pdf file type), but beware, only if the file is at certain resolutions. Also I can not seem to get it to work anyway! Beware of basing the decision to spend a significant amount of money on someone saying “Oh, X software will do that” (including what I just said) no matter who the authority. Make sure someone on the project actually sees X software do it; the consequences of “Oh, I thought it would do it” are expensive and avoidable. We have a term in the trade for such software capabilities: vaporware.

Also asking the Rudge and Morgan club about their projects is a great idea. Even if we have a dozen computer software experts in-house, one can always benefit from the hindsight of someone else’s experiences that have done the same type project and reaped the rewards, or lived with the consequences. Certainly waiting a month or two while tracking down the appropriate contact in the other clubs is not a hardship. Even if you do not use the same vendor for scanning-file preparation, they might have some suggestions of things they would have done differently (such as “Never Again!”)

I think all are convinced that the scans need to be from the original source, issues of the Yowl. The B&W pictures in the Yowl tend to be low contrast compared to some of the other one make club’s magazines. The Technicalities were photocopied at a high contrast, and all the low contrast grey tones got grouped together and converted to black. Not what you want to scan if the originals are available.

And finally (I promise) if the CD just has the Technicalities on it, then it should be a self supporting project. If only for the admittedly selfish reason that I have my copy; hey, at least I am honest! But if it had all the back issues of Yowl, then that would save me, and I think other members, the trouble and perhaps impossible task, of collecting a complete back library. And a CD takes up much less space. If it will not fit on a CD or two, then make it a data DVD. Then perhaps a Club subsidized project (and all that added responsibility of spending member’s funds); but not by raising dues, unless you plan to give every member a free copy. If everybody pays, it should be an item that a majority of members will get some use out of. Despite the volume of activity on this forum (commendable) I think it is due to a core group of very active internet savvy members that as yet still represent a minority of the club as a whole (just look at the memberlist posts data.) Commercial firms might charge more for burning the DVDs, but it seems here many new computers comes with a free DVD burner upgrade. My last one did and I did not even want it at the time, glad I have it now though. So if you have an obliging member in the UK and provide them with a pack of burnable DVD disks, you could burn on demand (same goes for CD.) Depends on how fancy you want to get, and the pros and cons of outsourcing. Again, talking to the other clubs can give some perspective on that.

And so as he steps down from his soapbox to the thunderous applause… Perhaps ‘cuase I am done. Just please do not throw e-tomatoes!

Douglas Kephart